News

Two Centuries of US Immigration

This map shows everyone who immigrated to the United States between 1820 and 2013 (1 dot = 10,000 people).

The data is from the DHS Yearbook of Immigration Statistics and includes only people who attained permanent resident status. Most illegal immigration is not included.

Source: Two Centuries of US Immigration

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First International Conference for Conflict Resolution

Warren Hardy
2005


Honorable participants, presenters and guests, We welcome you to the First International Conference for Conflict Resolution.

This is an historical event and we celebrate it. We thank those who have made this day possible. The organizers Honorable Frank Evans from Houston and Licensiado Santiago Gonzales from San Miguel, the presenters, and participants. We welcome you all to the Warren Hardy School.

Frank wanted me to talk to you today about the role social protocol and cultural understanding plays in preventing conflict. He also asked me help you understand how the United Sates and Mexico are different and what Americans in particular need to do to succeed in business in Mexico. Finally, I want to highlight the importance of conflict resolution and how your participation in this event effects world peace.

My work and interest for many years has been to help American business people and tourists adjust to Mexico.

Using proper social protocol is the first step to appearing like a cultured and well meaning person. Social protocol is the basis of cultural understanding and cultural understanding is the understanding that individuals and business need to have strong personal bonds. Without these cultural understandings and cultural bonds it is difficult for people to weather the storms of change in the business environment. Without cultural understanding, when conflict occurs, hearts and minds close and resolution is difficult if not impossible.

You would be surprised how many people believe that because we share the same borders, that people from Mexico and The United States, share the same values. It is important to know that we are in fact we value different things and why?

To understand the values of any country we have to understand its history. Octavio Paz once said, ” The only thing all Mexicans have in common and the only thing we cannot escape is our history.” The same could be said about America but it isn’t that simple.

In the book LIMITS OF FRIENDSHIP written by José Casteñeda, 1998 the recent Mexican Foreign Minister and now presidential candidate, he says:

“The center of the problem is simply the United States is a nation that does not feel a need to remember its past and Mexico cannot afford to forget it.”

So what it about our histories that is so important? Why can´t Mexicans afford to forget their pasts and why should Americans remember theirs?

Lets look at their history and maybe you can draw your own conclusion:

Realizing that I am in a room of lawyers here is my disclaimer: I want to emphasize that it is impossible to capture precisely the nature of any one people. There are so many variations within any given race, culture, or nationality. Only generalities can be made and generalities can be dangerous. These generalities are based on the preponderance of the evidence and know that my intentions are good.

First: American History
American history is very short, mainly because Americans don´t think about their history much. Americans tend to look forward instead of back They remember that columbus sailed the ocean blue in 1492. that the independence was in 1776 and Of course, Texans remember the Alamo.

Americans say Upward and Onward
America was founded in 1620 by pilgrims that came here seeking religious freedom. Historians tell us that they believed that they were the chosen people that were coming to the promised land. Pilgrims were especially individual minded.

They were the Separatists:
They wanted a new political identity and spiritual identity. They believed that if they were righteous they would prosper. Puritans were the Spiritual intellects. Knowledge of the scriptures was essential. They believed they were guided by God. They believed that the code of righteousness was the word in the bible.

John Calvin is considered the founder of the Puritan Ethic prohibited dancing, drinking, gambling, card playing, fashionable clothes and other amusements.(Nothing was left for the Puritan to do but work.) to quote from the Puritan Ethic “Work gives man moral dignity, and economic success gives him honor”

Work gives dignity – Success gives honor.
They believed that hard work was character building and morally good. They basically believed that hard work was the main factor in producing material wealth.

Puritans viewed prosperity as a gift from God.. They believed that money in itself was good and riches were consistent with Godliness Calvin said “The more he hath, the more advantage he hath to do good with it.” Puritans viewed prosperity as Gods gift.

While they sailed to America the Mayflower Compact was created that they would “Combine together into a civil body politic, for the general good of the colony”.

HISTORY
1620 first group -102 people, 41 families seeking religious freedom they brought books, household furnishings, livestock and staple foods. There were carpenters, joiners, and smiths, with the tools of their trades. They also brought an 80,000 acre land grant, fishing rights, authority to create a system of self government called “self government by the Kings Command”. Most were educated and many held positions of authority in England.

The first year for the puritans was difficult but they were saved by the indians who taught them to plant corn. Soon more pilgrims arrived and the expansion began.

Christians did not miscegenate like the Conquistadores. As puritans they wanted to keep their blood line pure.

Americans believe that they were destined to inhabit the land and anyone who got in their way was an obstacle and had to be overcome. Several million indians were killed or died within a few years from disease.

  • 1776 American Independence from England 1790 census 4 million in 13 colonies.
  • 1803 Louisiana purchase from French. 830,000 square miles west of Mississippi .
  • 1812 James Madison declares a policy of Manifest Destiny – It was Americas manifest destiny to expand westwards to the Pacific Ocean.
  • 1823 Monroe Doctrine – European powers were forbidden intervention into the western hemisphere.
  • 1830 The Indian removal act was signed
  • 1835-1836 Texas War of Independence Battle of San Jacinto
  • 1848 Mexican American War – annexed what is now California, Arizona, New Mexico and part of Colorado

It is true that the first Americans were religious zealots who believed hat God had given them this land. The founding fathers created the bill of rights that assured life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness for all people. America was built on the premise that all people were created equal and had certain unalienable rights.

The American Dream was created and to this day most Americans enjoy lives of prosperity and opportunity. Americans are independent thinkers that believe in hard work and that prosperity is their birthright.

Ethnologists tell us today Americans today three most important values are:

  1. Financial success, hard work brings dignity and success brings honor.
  2. Individual freedom, the pilgrims were very independent minded people. they came here to build their own nation. America has always had a very entrepreneurial spirit
  3. Education. Americans believe that education provide the opportunity for financial success.

No American has forgotten September 11th, the worst attack by a foreign power on American soil, 2,998 souls were taken and people say that it changed the consciousness of America forever This perhaps this tragedy will help us to understand the impact that Mexico’s history has had on its people and their values.

So what do the Mexican value… lets look at their history.

First of all we must remember that México has been inhabited for 30,000 years. First came the Olmecs, then the Toltecs, the Zapotecs, the Teotiahuecanos, the Mayas, and finally the Aztecs. The Aztecs only came into power 100 years before the conquest, about 1400.AD

At the time Cortés arrived in the Americas in 1528 , he encountered a civilization which numbered about 20 million people and 100 Indian nations, whose economic, social an scientific achievements rivaled any similar advancement in Africa, Asia, or Europe. The Aztecs were skilled artists and craftsmen and were competitive in sports, singing, music, dancing and poetry. There was an abundance of festivals revolving around magnificent floral and graphic displays with costumes , music and dance. Their ruling classes lived in great cities as impressive as the most advanced cities of its day.

Then came the conquistador.

Historians tell us that the Spanish conquistadores were a driven people obsessed with lust for riches and glory for themselves, for Spain, and for the righteousness of their cause. They saw no evil in the death and destruction they inflicted on the people of Mexico, In fact they perceived the Indians as subhuman and over several decades they systematically destroyed the political, economic, and religious foundations of what was a flourishing life for Indians living in Mexico. During the 300 year reign of Spain (1521.1821) some 90% of the Indian population (17 million) was killed directly or by disease brought by Spaniards. They all became slaves working to send Mexico’s resources back to Spain.

After 300 years of slavery came the revolution of 1810 when Mexico gained it´s independence from Spain. The problem for the people was that pretty much the same aristocracy remained in power and most of Mexico’s people were relegated to a life of serfs working the great haciendas. This lasted for another 100 years.

After the revolution of 1810, Mexico’s new leaders had their own problems. Mexico found itself in a state of general anarchy, Its territory was huge, really more than the new government could manage or protect, particularly in the north. Slowly Americans moved into the territory and eventually a land grab occurred that was called the Mexican American War. America annexed what are now the states of California, Arizona, New Mexico, and part of Colorado. In 18.. Texans started their own war for independence, which they won. Americans should remember that many Mexicans are still upset about this.

A few years ago I visited the Museum of Interventions in Mexico city, known as el exconvento Churubusco. In its pamphlet page 7, First paragraph it says: Intervencion norteamericana 1846-1848. In 1848 Mexico lost more than half of its territory at the hand of the United States of America. The reasons? Territorial greed by the United States and the anarchy in Mexico. Now, almost 150 years later we are business associates and this border has become a permanent scare that reminds us of the turbulence of the nineteen century.

Between the revolution of 1810 and the revolution of 1910 Mexico experienced six foreign interventions. Three from United States.

Then came revolution of 1910 to 1921. The revolution of Pancho Villa and Zapata over land. Finally the great haciendas were broken down. Lets keep in mind that this revolution only occurred 84 years ago.

You may wonder why Mexicans are not more bitter and resentful than they are, and how despite such a legacy, the Mexicans are kind, thoughtful, generous, and have an extraordinarily sunny disposition that is expressed in art, literature, music, and song.

I believe that this is because the Spanish overthrow only partially succeeded. You can’t wipe out 30,000 years of civilization in 400 years. It is true that Mexicans went from a nation of relative prosperity and a joyous civilization to a nation of slaves, then serfs, and finally servants. Most people experienced lives of fear, frustration, and sadness for generations. BUT It is important to realize that the Aztecs and other Mexican Indians had a rich philosophical, emotional, and spiritual life, AND despite the destruction of his physical world, what the Mexican hung on to was soul.

In Mexico, “It is generally thought that each person is basically good and decent and that one’s dignity is unaffected by what he does or has. Needless to say, Life has been difficult for generations of people, this 400 years of authoritarian rule and foreign intervention has left its cultural imprint on the psyches and minds of the Mexican people. This powerful imprint is what forms the foundation for Mexican values and social protocol.

So when we consider Mexico’s indigenous history and mix it in with 400 years of authoritarian rule, what do the Mexicans value?

Pride and personal dignity.
When everything else was taken away the only thing the Mexican had control over was his personal pride and dignity. To compensate for their abject poverty and slave-like social statue, Mexicans developed an extraordinary sense of pride. In Mexico, dignity and respect go hand in hand, and Mexicans feel they cannot maintain their dignity without specific, positive respect from others. Mexicans resent the “holier than thou” stance assumed by many Americans. In the face of the Americans perceived arrogance, the Mexicans pride frequently deteriorates into stubbornness and passive-aggressive resistance. Dr. Marc Ehrlich

Americans must remember that there is a feeling among many Mexicans that Americans do not respect them as a nation, as a race or as individuals.

To have strong business ties Americans must learn how to express respect and how to behave socially. Americans should be careful to use respectful language and give a demeanor of courtesy, never talking down to anyone. These personal relationships based on respect are the key to successful long term business.

Mexican courtesy begins with a level of formality that has long since disappeared from other cultures. After the revolution of 1810, it became the practice to educate all people in the Cortesia. The basic courtesies that came from Spain. If a person knew this basic Cortesia, he was considered educated. If he did not, he was considered a “mal-educado”. This was an insult on the mother who was responsible for teaching the courtesies. Suffice it to say that the learning of the courtesies leveled the playing field and became the social glue that brought everyone together on social level. They are based on acknowledging a person when entering his space. They consist of:

  • The formal greetings and farewells
  • Asking permission when entering or leaving someone’s space.
  • A blessing on the meal when entering some ones space.

The courtesies gave all people a way expressing respect and of maintaining pride and personal dignity.

American should know and use these courtesies if they live or work in Mexico.

Trust
From the beginning U.S. business relationships have generally been based on accepted practices and laws. Not so much in Mexico. Historically, the only protection Mexican business people have had is the personal bonds that have been established between them.

In most cases, for a business relationship to succeed, it must be based more on trust than on a contract. It is true that the modern Mexican Executive places trust in a well written contract, but when things go wrong, any business success must be based on personal confidence not on laws.

The greatest challenge facing foreigners who want to do business in Mexico is finding the right people and then developing mutual trust. This trust cannot be developed in one or two meetings. It takes time.

It should be understood that the first stages of business relationship, Mexicans are looking at the personality, character, and manners of the foreign representative. Friendship and trust is important. If a deal is reached without this required personal foundation, it will usually fall apart during the first several years of operation or at best go forward but usually it will proceed at a slow pace.

The important thing is that once this trust is developed problems can be solved easily, quickly, and completely with the help of Mexican friends. Personal contacts in the right places continue to be the way things get done efficiently. This brings us to

Family and Friends
Personal interaction, not laws, is the basis of business in Mexico and the foundation of Mexican society. Laws were originally created to protect the powerful, not systems of right and wrong, but by arbitrary policies established to protect the ruling elite. Until recent history all activity, social and economical and political, was based on personal relationships, on who one knew and how much influence could be brought to bear. Mexico became a system of personal patronage. Survival was based on ones ability of network with family members and friends.

Today Mexico is a powerful country going through rapid change. The old politics with political experience and connections is becoming the new politics of bureaucrats who have built political careers through bureaucracy and accomplishments at school.

However, even today trust and personal friendships play an extremely important role in the development and maintenance of good business relationships.

In a perfect world the parties involved in the relationship from different nations, would be sensitive and knowledgeable of the other party´s culture and traditional ways of life. Why is cultural understanding so important, because it reduces the incidence of conflict and gives a basis for resolution when it occurs.

We live in a dynamic universe and in business things go wrong, so wrong that the individuals cannot come to resolution alone. That is when they need help.

We have come here today to discuss ways and to develop skills to help individuals, businesses and institutions resolve conflicts in efficient and responsible ways. Through this information and these skills we will be able to help our clients save money, save time, and experience less stress.

We will all agree that mediation is the practical way to resolve conflict, But I believe that mediation is not only practical, it is also spiritual.

It is the path of the peacemaker. Gandhi said: “When you have resolved conflict you have opened the door to peace.” Never in the history of our planet has peace been more important.

Recently a local healer named Jesus spoke at our school. Someone asked… How can we heal the planet… How can we have peace on earth?

He said that the way was to heal yourself and then heal those in your immediate circle. That is all anyone can do. The mediator is the peacemaker and your clients are your immediate circle. When you help your clients see another’s side and open their hearts, then there are great possibilities for resolution and for peace.

I believe the path of the mediator is the path of the spiritual warrior…. like St. Michael.. The patron saint of our city…

A few months ago a great Peruvian shaman named Juan Ruiz spoke at our school. He said that when he was meditating that morning, he saw San Miguel. Not only did he see San Miguel, he saw legions of archangels.

He said that the San Miguel he saw looks different than the one in the Parroquia. This one didn´t have a sword and shield. He walked with his arms open and his heart was open. He said that this was a new era in the history of the world and that this is the time of the open hearted warriors.

A good mediator helps others to see another’s position and open their hearts to possibilities for resolution. This is the beginning of peace.

Mediation is practical.. it helps our clients save time and money and it is spiritual. It helps our clients reach peaceful solutions and opens the door to peaceful hearts. It creates a win, win, win situation. You are here to become the practical warriors for peace.

The dali lama says that: The path to nonviolence is the path of service to our fellow beings. We honor what you are doing and we support you in it.

We want you to enjoy your selves, and learn from each other. Much energy has been used by people with vision, talent, and good hearts to bring us together. Let us create the union between our groups that will serve many. I hope you to feel proud because you are taking the legal high road in service to your clients and to humanity.

It is a day for celebration and we my wife Tuli and I, welcome you here. Nuestra Casa es su Casa Our mission is uniting people through language and culture y estamos aqui para servirles.

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What Really Really Matters in International Business Relationships

International Mediation Seminar
Warren Hardy, August 12, 2005


I enthusiastically welcome you Third Siders to the Warren Hardy school. I acknowledge you for the time and energy you have put in to come here to discuss ways to help people resolve conflicts in efficient, caring and responsible ways.

William Ury in his book “Must we Fight” says that the motto for the Third Side is to Contain if necessary; Resolve if possible; best of all Prevent. My purpose in speaking to you today is to help you prevent conflict and develop trust in you cross-cultural business relationships.

How many Mexicans are there here today? How many Americans? On behalf of our Mexican friends I welcome you to our lovely city. Nuestra Casa es su Casa. We hope you enjoy yourselves.

How many are here to do business with Mexicans? How many students? How many work in mediation or plan to work in mediation?

Mediation excites me for many reasons; one is the opportunity to give people things they can’t get within the parameters of the courtroom. You can take into consideration what really matters to people.. you can be creative.

I want to share that I am not a mediator. I am not a lawyer or a judge. I am a Spanish teacher of 35 years. My students have always been people like yourselves, professionals wanting to work with Mexicans or live in Mexico. So as a teacher, it has been incumbent on me to help my American friends understand Mexican social protocol. Today more than anything I want to speak from my heart, to share with you some of the things I have learned about how to relate to Mexican people.

I want you to know that as a gringo talking to you about Mexicans, I would never want to seem presumptuous, You see, I am not a Mexican and I haven´t lived the Mexican history. Octavio Paz, Mexicos poet lureate and Nobel Prize winner said, “The only thing all Mexicans have in common is their history.” So because of my love of the Mexican people, I would never wish to mispeak or offend my Mexican friends.

Me, The Ugly American, Personal anecdote
You see, I have been the ugly American and I have made all of the mistakes. I have been ignorant without knowing I was ignorant. I have been arrogant and impatient. I have blundered along thinking I was doing good, when in reality I was not. Please allow me to tell a brief personal anecdote to illustrate what I mean.

In the seventies and early eighties I had a language school in Tucson Arizona. I was young, enthusiastic, and naive. The peso was strong and business was booming along the Arizona Sonora border. We taught professional adults doing business with Mexicans. As a part of the language school we offered a seminar on “How to Do Business in Mexico” and as an adjunct had a consulting firm that brought together American and Mexican counterparts in business relationships. Clients were a helicopter manufacturer that wanted aluminum parts made in Mexico. A soap manufacturer that wanted a factory in Mexico, a health company that wanted alovera, a horse breeder and a bookstore chain owner wanting a distribution partner. In 1983 I sold my school and moved to Guaymas, Sonora. Sometime later, I returned to Tucson and happened to run into one of the previous clients. He told me that the business went bad because the Mexican could not meet product demand, schedules, and never communicated when things went wrong.. I was surprised and chagrinned, but also curious. I wondered what had happened to my other clients. After a few phone calls I found out that several of the businesses had failed. The most successful client was the soap manufacturer. He had fallen in love with his Mexican partners daughter. He was personally involved.

At this point I wanted to hear the Mexican side of the story and made some phone calls. The Mexicans said that the Americans were “pinche prepotentes” (arrogant jerks) and that they were inflexible and made impossible demands. Both sides blamed the other. I was embarrassed. How could so much good intention and hard work turn out so bad? What had I done? What had gone wrong?

This was before I lived in Mexico. This was before I knew what I know today about the importance of cultural understanding in international relationships. I was ignorant then, naive, thinking that by simply putting together counterparts with mutual needs that the business would certainly succeed. I thought that because Mexicans and Americans lived side by side, they pretty much felt the same way about things. I couldn´t have been more wrong. You see, Americans and Mexicans are as different as Bears and Porcupines.

The Bear and the Porcupine
Jeffrey Davidow, the US ambassador to Mexico from 1998 to 2002, wrote a book entitled: The US and Mexico. or The Bear and the Porcupine”. He tells this story.

“One day a porcupine was walking through the forest with his nose in the earth searching for seeds. He did not see the bear and the bear did not see him, because the bear was looking upward searching for berries. He almost stepped on the porcupine. They startled each other. The porcupine made its quills stand up and the bear laughed. “Do you think you can kill me with your little arrows. You are an unpleasant rodent and I am the largest animal in the forest.” “No, you blundering oaf, but do you think you can step on me without suffering the pain of my quills?” “No, said the bear, so I will not kill you. I will allow you to live with me and serve me.” The porcupine kept his quills up. “I do not wish to live with you or serve you, you are a blundering oaf. I will live next to you and watch out for you, but I will serve myself and protect myself with my sharp arrows.” At that point, the Bear and the Porcupine went there separate ways, living next each other and watching out for each other.” The blundering arrogant bear and the spiney porcupine, living side by side but being ever vigilant of each others presence.

Of course, the porcupine does not think of itself as an unpleasant rodent, and the bear does not think of itself as a blundering oaf. In their own minds, they see themselves as the eagles that are their national symbols. So why is this a problem? Well, the simple fact is that we not only live side by side in the forest, we share the forest. These misperceptions stand in the way of us creating better lives for ourselves and our citizens. So what is going on here?

Conflicting and Confusing perceptions
One the surface both Americans and Mexicans are conflicted and confused about each other. They view each other through the bifocal lens of opportunity and threat.

Mexicans want to be consumers of American culture and yet recoil from the threat of cultural inundation.

They want to participate in the American economy and yet are threatened by economic manipulation.

Mexicans want to emulate a democratic political system and yet fear political domination.

The same father who saves all he can to teach his son English and pray that he attends an American University worries about the influence of video games and fast foods.

Mexicans are convinced that immigrants are treated poorly in the U.S., but everyone has a successful cousin living in his own house and driving a late-model car in L.A. or Chicago.

Mexican intellectuals sniff at the barbarism of American culture but could not bear to live without frequent trips to New York.

On the other hand, many Americans think that Mexicans are lazy but they hire Mexicans to do the jobs they aren´t willing to do. .and on and on.

This is all public perception and it matters, but public perception can quickly change.

What Really Matters are Core Values.
What really matters to a people or a nation are the things that don´t change. Core values do not change quickly because they are created over time by history. You see, beyond and below public perception there is history and history is what defines us.

On your table you have 6 value cards. Pick what you think is the top value for an American. Pick the top value for a Mexican.

Ethnologists tell us that the way to understand the values of a country is to understand its history.

Lets take a brief look at the history´s of these two nations, and see what conclusions we come to about their core values.

American History
In the United States history seems to disappear…” I think its because Americans tend to look forward not backwards If you are like me, I remember that Columbus sailed the ocean blue in 1492. The declaration of Independence was signed in 1776, and of course Texans remember the Alamo. There is more.

The Puritans came here in 1620. These first Americans left England in a time of religious turmoil. You will remember that the Puritans were religious zealots from the Calvinist movement. Their mission was religious freedom, to create a democratic body, and prosper. They believed that they were coming to a promised land and that. if they lived righteously, God would prosper them. The Puritan ethic stated “Work gives man moral dignity, and success gives him honor.” They believed that prosperity was a gift from God. Calvin said, “The more he hath, the more advantage he hath to do good with it.” These people created the American Dream. They declared that all people were intitled to certain inalienable rights: Life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness. From the time they arrived in Plymouth they never looked back. Over the next 100 years the anglo population grew from the original 102 to over 4 million who now inhabited a political body called the 13 colonies. Americans were independent thinkers that believed in hard work and that prosperity was their birthright. Here are a few other key dates that I want you to look at.

You can see that from its inception, America went through a 400 year period of expansion and growth and continues to do so today.

America´s Core Values.
Based on this history, everyone please put in order what you think are American’s top three values.

Ethnologists tell us that Americans three most important values are:

  1. Financial opportunity – Americans seek financial opportunity and demand results. Americans have devised an economic system based on opportunity and free enterprise. Americans believe that a society which fosters competition and financial opportunity will progress rapidly. Material acquisition is the reward for hard work and serious intent; a reward they think that all people would enjoy if they were as industrious and hard working as Americans.
  2. Time and its control – Time is, for the average American, of utmost importance. Schedules are meant to be planned and followed in the smallest detail. Americans love it when a plan comes together. Americans are completely controlled by the little machine they wear on their wrists, cutting their discussions off abruptly to make it to their next appointment on time. In America it is considered rude to be late, even by 10 minutes, and if you are late, you must call. Americans language is filled with references to time, giving clear indication of how much it is valued. Time is something to be “on, to be kept, filled, saved, used, spent, wasted, lost, gained, planned, given, made the most of, and yes, time can even be killed.”
  3. Individual freedom – The pilgrims were entrepreneurs. They came here to build their own nation. In America each individual is seen as completely and marvelously unique, that is, totally different from all other individuals, and therefore, his individual freedom must be preserved. An American takes credit for what he has accomplished by himself or herself. The self-made man or woman is still very much an ideal in America and individual freedom provides the platform for Americans to manifest their dreams.

*1812 James Madison declares a policy of Manifest Destiny – He said “It was America’s manifest destiny to expand westwards to the Pacific Ocean, from sea to shining sea. Madison said, ”The right of our manifest destiny was to spread over and to possess the whole of the continent which providence has given us for the development of the great experiment of liberty.” This became the rational for the Mexican American War.

*1848 Mexican American War – America annexed what is now California, Arizona, New Mexico, and part of Colorado. This was the first American conflict driven by the idea of Manifest Destiny. As Americans moved onto Mexican territory there was a need to protect them from falling under the rule of Mexico.

Mexican History
So what do the Mexicans value? Let’s look at their history.

First of all we must remember that México has been inhabited for thousands of years. First came the Olmecs, then the Toltecs: The great civilizations occurred in MesoAmerica from 500 B.C. to 1500 A.D. This was a relative peaceful period, and sophisticated civilizations arose. Millions of people interacted in ceremony, architecture, art, music and of course, commerce. There were the Zapotecs in Monte Alban, the Teotihuacanos north of Mexico City and the Mayas in the Yucatan. The Aztecs came into power 100 years before the conquest, about 1400 A.D. At the time Cortés arrived in the Americas in 1519, he encountered a civilization which numbered about 20 million people and 100 Indian nations whose economic, social and scientific achievements rivaled any similar advancement in Africa, Asia, or Europe. Then came the Conquistador.

The Conquest of Mexico
Historians tell us that the Spanish conquistadores were a driven people obsessed with lust for riches and glory for themselves, for Spain, and for the Catholic Church. They saw no evil in the death and destruction they inflicted on the people of Mexico. In fact, they perceived the Indians as subhuman and over several decades they systematically destroyed the political, economic, and religious foundations of what was a flourishing life for Indians living in Mexico. All people became slaves working to send Mexico’s resources back to Spain.

During this 300 year holocaust brought by Spain some 90% of the Indian population (17 million) was killed directly or by disease brought by Spaniards.

After 300 years of slavery came the revolution of 1810 when Mexico gained it´s independence from Spain. The problem for the majority of the people was that life continued to be pretty much the same. The aristocracy remained in power and most of Mexico’s people were relegated to a life of serfs working the great haciendas. This was to last for another 100 years.

Mexican American War – United States Intervention in Mexico
It is important to note here that after the revolution of 1810, Mexico’s new leaders had their own problems. Mexico found itself in a state of general anarchy, Its territory was huge, really more than the new government could manage or protect, particularly in the north. Slowly Americans moved into the Mexican territory and eventually a land grab occurred that was called the Mexican American War. America annexed what are now the states of California, Arizona, New Mexico, and part of Colorado.

Americans should know and remember that every Mexican child who studies the history of his country learns about the greedy Americans who attacked their nation and took half their land. Every school child in Mexico City visits the Museum of Interventions. In its pamphlet page 7. First paragraph it says: Intervencion Norteamericana In 1848 “Mexico lost more than half of its territory at the hand of the United States of America. The reasons? Territorial greed by the United States and the anarchy in Mexico. Now, almost 150 years later we are business associates and this border has become a permanent scar that reminds us of the turbulence of the nineteen century.” Between the revolution of 1810 and the revolution of 1910 Mexico experienced six foreign interventions. Three from United States.

Interventions on America – Let Us Not Forget
America has experienced two foreign interventions: Pearl Harbor, December 7, !941. We lost 2500 citizens, and the attack on the World Trade Center Sept 11, 2001 where 3000 lives were taken from us. We are sensitive about these attacks and hold the victims sacred. We tell ourselves that “We cannot forget what happened and we cannot allow that to ever happen again.” It is no wonder that Mexicans cannot forget about the loss of their civilization, the enslavement of their people, and interventions from the big bear to the north. Jorge Casteñada, the Mexican secretary of Exterior said, “The problem between the United States and Mexico is simple. The United States refuses to recognize its history and Mexico refuses to forget it.”

After 100 years of the great haciendas and serfdom came revolution of 1910 to 1921. The revolution of Pancho Villa and Zapata over land. Finally the great haciendas were broken down. For the first time in 400 years land was available to the common people. Lets keep in mind that this revolution only occurred 84 years ago. Some countries live closer to their history than others and no country lives closer to its history than Mexico.

Soul of Mexico
I am amazed that Mexicans are not more bitter and resentful than they are, and how despite such a legacy, the Mexicans are kind, thoughtful, generous, and have an extraordinarily sunny disposition that is expressed in art, literature, music, and song.

I believe that this is because the Spanish over-throw only partially succeeded. You can´t wipe out thousands of years of civilization in 400 years. It is true that Mexicans went from a nation of relative prosperity and a joyous civilization to a nation of slaves, then serfs, and finally servants. Most people experienced lives of fear, frustration, and sadness for generations.

But it is important to realize that the Aztecs and other Mexican indians had a rich philosophical, emotional, and spiritual life. Despite the destruction of his physical world, what the Mexican hung on to was soul.

Even so, life has been difficult for generations of people, this 400 years of authoritarian rule and foreign intervention has left its cultural imprint on the psyches and minds of the Mexican people. This powerful imprint is what forms the foundation for Mexican values and social protocol

Mexican Values
So when we consider Mexicos rich Indigenous and European history and mix it in with 400 years of authoritarian rule, what do Mexicans value? Please place you cards in order of what you think are the top three Mexican values. Again, ethnologists tell us:

  1. Pride, personal dignity and respect – When everything else was taken away the only thing the Mexican had control over was his personal pride and dignity. . Any lack of respect takes that away and a Mexican will not tolerate lack of respect. Mexican pride is a powerful force. In Mexico everyone is entitled to personal dignity, no matter where they work, what they wear, or what they drive.

    In the mid 1800,s a social movement took place to give all people a way of expressing respect and of maintaining personal dignity no matter the social class. It came from the Cortesía of old Spain. Today it is the basic social protocol that all Mexicans respect. Americans should know and use these courtesies if they live or work in Mexico. Being able to show respect is a key skill. It shows that you know how to act. It was based on the concept of acknowledging someone when you enter or leave their space. It consists of:

    • The formal greetings and farewells
    • Asking permission when entering or leaving someone’s space.
    • A blessing on the meal when entering someone’s space.
  2. Trust – From the beginning U.S. business relationships have generally been based on accepted practices and laws. Not so much in Mexico. Historically, the only protection Mexican business people have had is the personal bonds that have been established between them. The important thing is that once this trust is developed problems can be solved easily, quickly, and completely with the help of Mexican friends. Personal contacts in the right places continue to be the way things get done efficiently. This brings us to:
  3. Family and friends – Mexicans love their families. They venerate children and old people. They live in three generation households. Mexicans love being with Mexicans. They pass hours in idle chatter. Mexicans love music and all Mexicans know all the words to the classic Mexican songs. It is not uncommon to be in a group of 5000 Mexicans and everyone is singing to the music. The family is the foundation of Mexican society and Personal interaction is the basis of business in Mexico.

    Mexico is a dynamic country going through rapid change. The old politics with political connections is becoming the new politics of bureaucrats. However, even today trust and personal friendships play an extremely important role in the development and maintenance of good business relationships.

So that is what ethnologists say about Mexicans. I want to tell you what a Mexican is to me. The longer I live in Mexico, the more I see clearly the soul of Mexico, the enduring part that was never conquered through the conquest. Mexicans are of the earth from ancient civilizations. They are a race of people whose blood was spilled in its very creation. They are a solitary people, having been created and survived on this very spot. They are the porcupine. Their shamanic roots go deep. They have been a shamanic spiritual society for thousands of years. They live from their hearts. They love to play and celebrate all of life, there joy and their sorrow. In spite of their social class, their education, or whatever may differentiate them within their country, they stand in solidarity as a unique tribe and nation. They share the same history and the same blood. They can and do stand against the world as Mestizos, Mexicans, la Raza, indestructible and proud. They are a dynamic race of people who has recreated itself in modern times with its own identity, beliefs, and values.

Nothing compares to Mexican food and sauces with their combinations of spices and flavors. Mexicans have tequila and believe that tequila can cure everything from the flu to a broken heart.

I can tell you that my association with Mexicans has made me a better person. I used to be one of the type A guys who made a lot of demands and expected a lot of results. That was painful. Today I am more patient, more generous, and more kind. I will live longer and happier because of my association with Mexicans.

If you are an American doing business with Mexicans or working in mediation don´t be a blundering arrogant oaf. Be aware of history. Show respect and develop a personal relationship. Be patient.

If you are a Mexican doing business with Americans, Don´t be an over sensitive porcupine. Keep you quills in check. Show Respect and develop a personal relationship. Be patient and communicate when things go wrong.

Here is what to do. Get personally involved.

  1. Finding the right partner – In his book, ‘Mexican Etiquette and Ethics?, Lafayette DeMente says that, “the challenge for both sides is to find the right partner and then develop a relationship of trust.” Decide you are going to have a relationship based on respect and trust with you Mexican counterpart. Don´t let history stand in the way of your friendship. Take time to cultivate a personal relationship.
  2. Find out what matters – You might say: “I am excited to do business with you and I see great opportunity here for both of us. I suggest you tell me what matters to you, and I will tell you what matters to me.”
  3. Take time for serious play – Friendships are made over food and drink and so is good business. Remember: In Mexico, play is a ritual. In America, work is a ritual. At any social event be prepared to stay the course. Take a nap before you go out. Your objective is to get to know your client. Laugh together and have a bonding of the heart. Ask questions about families and interests. Express your appreciation for your family and life in general. Take gifts, photos, pictures of your family, and express your love of the Mexican culture.
  4. Never dismiss or talk down – Resist comparing one country to another. This usually turns out wrong.
  5. Learn Spanish and use the social protocol.

When Problems Occur
In a perfect world the parties involved in international business relationships would be sensitive and knowledgeable of the other party´s culture and traditional ways of life. But sometimes the blundering bear raises its arrogant head and the oversensitive porcupine throws its quills in the air. Then things go wrong so wrong that the individuals cannot come to resolution alone. That is when they need help.

And that is why we have come here today, to discuss ways to help our clients find practical and creative solutions to resolve conflict.

We will all agree that mediation is the practical way to resolve conflict, but I would like to close by saying that I believe that mediation is not only practical, it is also spiritual. It is the path of the peacemaker. Gandhi said: “When you have resolved conflict you have opened the door to peace.” Never in the history of our planet has peace been more important.

Please look again at your value cards and select the cards that you yourself value.

Now we are down to what really matters. Of course public perception matters. Core values really matter. But what really matters is realizing that we are all animals living in the same forest, some of us are bears, some are porcupines, we are unique but all the same.

We all want the same things. We all want to be respected and trusted. We all want prosperity in our lives. We all love our families and our friends. We all have much to offer each other. What really really matters is the human relationship and connecting through the heart. This connection will empower our businesses to weather the storms of change. Mexicans have a great toast that reminds us what really really matters. Please repeat after me. Salud, , Amor, , Dinero, – y el tiempo para gozarlos.

Much energy has been used by people with vision, talent, and good hearts to bring us together. Let us create the union between our groups that will serve many.

Gracias por su atención.

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The Hardy Recipe:

Verb Cards + Anecdotes + Homespun Warmth = Linguistic Success
By David Bossman
February 21, 2000: Atención


San Rafael 6. It’s Saturday morning at 9 a.m. The two dozen people who were standing around in groups chatting with cups of coffee find their seats as the Maestro makes his way to a small standing blackboard in front of a large, comfortable room.

“Buenos días, clase. Comenzamos!” exclaims the teacher. He´s a well-dressed, middle-aged man with chiseled good looks and a friendly voice. Warren Hardy has begun another Spanish class.

A woman asks a question about the difference between crecer and criar. Verbs. Hardy carefully explains that the former means “to grow” and the latter, “to raise,” as in “raising a child.” He then throws another verb into the mix, crear (“to create”) so that his students have a firm sense of the differences. He writes each on the board and constructs different sentences using each. Before he leaves the topic, he looks around the room and makes sure that each of the adults grasps the distinctions. Then he is ready to move on to his regular verb drill.

Verbs are Hardy’s trademark. With the use of his verb conjugation cards and his well-trained native-born tutors, his successful formula for teaching Spanish has made him almost as well known in San Miguel as the mayor.

“Warren Hardy SpanishTM” as it is officially known, was born in San Miguel nine years ago and has been flourishing ever since. Hardy likes to think of his course as a “foundation builder used to teach the verb structure of the language so that each student can enjoy the Mexican and Hispanic culture while developing fluency.”

Hardy (“Warren” to all his students) is immensely proud of the success rate as reflected by the numbers. “We have no attrition, no drop outs at all. Ninety nine percent of our referrals come from past students,” he explained to me one day.

“Our constituency is the local community and hundreds more who live in the States and Canada. Many of these folks come to take one of our two-week courses, spend some leisure time in San Miguel and upon returning home tell their friends and family (in Spanish of course) about our program. Would you believe that we have over 3000 alumni out there?”

Hardy’s “not-so-secret weapon” is his wife, Tuli. She is the accountant, secretary and the business manager — the person to whom each of Hardy’s tutors or students go when they have non-pedagogical questions. (She also makes some delicious flavored coffee and provides some scrumptious pastry during the breaks).

“We feel it’s important that we provide a homey atmosphere so that each one of our students can learn and absorb in a non-threatening environment. After all, these are adults — some of whom have resisted a second langugage for a long time. Warren tries to make the transition as enjoyable as possible,” Tuli tells me during the break.

For years, on the last day of each course, Hardy has encouraged each student to fill out a course appraisal form asking for suggestions on how to improve his program. Students were overwhelmingly pleased with their own progress in learning various verb conjugations (universally acknowledged as Hardy’s forte) and their use of direct and indirect objects (“He engages you visually, auditorially, and emotionally,” Susan Valaskovic told me in explaining his success. The former president of a consulting firm was speaking as a student. “Warren has an intuitive ability to locate our weaknesses!”).

Not willing to rest on his laurels, however, Hardy read something else into these evaluations; the Maestro sensed that there was a gap that had to be filled somewhere between the intermediate and advanced range. And so it was that the new Intermediate II curriculum was born.

Another student, internationally known geographer Sir Roger Tomlinson, is one of Hardy’s biggest fans. “I have always been into spatial relationships and could never grasp languages. Warren’s methods have removed that block. I found myself in Morocco last year trading French expressions with people there. I was no longer afraid to use the other side of my brain.”

When I repeated Tomlinson’s account to the Maestro, Warren Hardy took a deep breath and beamed that sense of satisfaction that defies even his translation

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Warren Hardy Spanish: A San Miguel Institution

By Eleanor Piazza
July 25, 2003: Atención


We have so many opportunities to participate in the richly varied institutions here in San Miguel de Allende. Some favorites might include dazzling our senses at the Tianguis on Tuesdays, attending the Biblioteca’s inspirational house tour on Sundays, or going to the colorful Ignacio Ramirez covered market on Wednesday evenings, or Thursday at the latest, to get flowers at their peak of freshness.

There is another institution in San Miguel, equally well known among the community of visitors, and that is Warren Hardy: both the man and his school, Warren Hardy Spanish.™ When friends come to San Miguel from the US and Canada, Warren Hardy Spanish is the first name that comes up as the place to go to get your Spanish kick-started if you are a beginner, or to polish and refine the language skills you already have. Warren’s wife and business partner, Tuli Hardy, and their team of competent native speaking tutors provide a unique and successful environment for adult learners.

Unlike the delectable cuiclacoche, or huitlacoche, Mexico’s answer to the black truffle, Warren’s teaching techniques did not pop up overnight after a Spring rain shower. Warren began teaching English in Argentina when he was nineteen, and at age twenty-one he returned to the US to complete his studies. Upon graduating from college he was offered a contract from Public Health Services to train doctors in two week immersion courses, which he did for three years. Armed with the rich experiences provided by a wide variety of students, he wrote a Spanish textbook and founded his own successful language school in Tucson Arizona in 1975. There his clients were maquiladores, corporations, local business people, and tourists.

As of 1990 Warren Hardy’s career as a Spanish language trainer had spanned twenty years and thousands of students. By now he had pioneered a flashcard system with games where students could work with partners in timed exercises. In his method no one was “called upon” to recite or answer a question in front of the class. Adult learners, some of whom had been humiliated in bygone classes, were able to relax and learn at their own pace with partners of similar skill levels. Paired learning is still one of the star features of Warren Hardy Spanish.

The students weren’t the only ones learning things. Hardy began to see that his organized style and class materials had evolved into a method that was quite powerful and could be passed on to other teachers. Warren had an epiphany. He realized that with the advent of a global economy, there would soon be millions of adult learners wanting to speak Spanish and that the public school system would never be able to meet their needs. He decided to devote himself to the training of other teachers and to the publication of his learning system. In acknowledgment of his work, Hardy was awarded a Paul Harris Fellow, an honor given by Rotary International for distinguished international service.

Warren and his bride Tuli came to San Miguel de Allende for their honeymoon in 1990 and never left. Sounds familiar, doesn’t it? So many of us have responded similarly to the call of the San Miguel Sirena. Almost immediately Warren obtained a teaching contract with the Desisto School, a Boston based private school for adolescents in the Atascadero. Disisto provided a venue for further developing his teaching system. Many of his students had learning disabilities, such as attention deficit disorder. His theory was that if he could develop a method that would work for these kids, it would work for anyone. And it does.

Eventually Warren was given permission by the Mexican government to start his own program, which was to be a research center for developing his teaching method, writing books, and training teachers.

The first research center (CardGame Spanish) opened in 1993 at the Unity Church when it was at its old location at Santa Domingo #3. The students wrote their own verb cards and the “textbook” consisted of handouts that could be put in binders.

By 1994 they had moved to Pilancon #19, which would be the home for Warren Hardy Spanish for the next seven years. It was there that the first version of the textbooks were published: VerbCards, GameCards, CD’s and cassette tapes were made available, and a video was created.

In 2000 Warren and Tuli discovered an old building on the corner in front of the San Juan de Dios Church. It was a ruin inside, with no floors or plumbing. The building had been El Escondido, a bar and dancehall, from 1945 to 1975. Warren and Tuli saw this thousand square foot dancehall with two boveda ceilings as the perfect classroom. They renovated the building and today their students enjoy its spaciousness, warmth, and wonderful acoustics.

So what about the millions of adults needing Spanish? Hardy and his team could never teach them all here in San Miguel. So here is the rest of the story, one to which most San Miguel residents are not privy.

For several years, Warren and Tuli have been attending national conventions promoting The Warren Hardy Method and The Warren Hardy Foundation Course. Last year they exhibited at the National Community Education Convention in Austin and Warren spoke at the American Foreign Language Teachers Convention in Salt Lake City. Warren is a dedicated advocate for adult learners. He believes that adults’ brains learn differently than younger brains. He believes that his learning system, which he calls “cross-training” should be the standardized system for all community colleges in the United States. A pretty ambitious goal? Not when you have devoted your life to this cause.

After many years of intense focus, much of Warren´s dream is coming to fruition. There are now twenty-seven teachers using The Warren Hardy Method. On the Warren Hardy Spanish website, www.warrenhardy.com, you will soon be able to access online learning and free-learning to enable you to continue studying if you leave San Miguel.

Not only has Warren Hardy Spanish become an institution in San Miguel but he is becoming a nationally recognized player in adult education: just one more point of pride for us sanmiguelenses. Pride and appreciation are the feelings most often expressed by Warren and Tuli for all of the work done by students through the years: catching errors and typos in the texts, coming up with ideas that have maximized their learning, and for proving out his method by becoming proficient in Spanish.

But most important, they celebrate the accomplishment of the mission statement of Warren Hardy Spanish: Uniting People through Language Learning and Cultural Understanding.

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Romance, Intrigue and Adventures…in Spanish

By Suzanne Ludekens


Popular legend says that the best way to learn Spanish is through romance or currently by watching soap-operas. However, a romantic interlude or spending large amounts of time in front of the television may not be the favored method for improving everyone’s language skills. To bridge the communication gap and protect feminine honor, enter stage right Carolina, Guadalupe Victoria and Rolando, “El gitano,” characters in The Soap Opera of Carolina the new intermediate Spanish book by Warren Hardy.

The original soap opera, set in San Miguel, is the result of five years’ vision finally turned into reality through the lifetime love affair with Spanish of language teachers Warren Hardy, Lila Trapàga and the late Fernando Maqueo.

Warren and wife Tuli came to San Miguel in 1989 on a honeymoon that never ended and “plan to be buried on the Mexican side of the graveyard.” Lilia and Fernando, refugees from the chaos of Mexico City, came in 1988 and 1987 respectively and were equally seduced by the beauty of the town and the people.

Together in a unique creative conspiracy, they provide a fun and entertaining key to opening new doors to understanding the language, culture, history and psychology of Mexico.

The concept started with Warren, who was looking for an original vehicle to teach intermediate Spanish. He then contacted Lilia, a local actress, director and language teacher, who in turn collaborated with Fernando , a local poet and language teacher.

According to Lilia, the Mexican soap “is the best way to transmit social norms and is a school of sentimental education.” And so the book includes all the soap-opera clichés and stereotypes as well as commonly used expressions. “The work is the culmination of many experiences, observations and research,” said Lilia. The activities of the characters, based on models from the popular Mexican soaps, include experiences from their students in San Miguel but more than just their personal input. “Any similarity to real people and situations is merely coincidental,” stresses Warren.

Seven chapters of intrigue and adventure tell the story of Carolina, a North-American woman who comes to San Miguel and suffers a “fatal romance.” During a classical odyssey of self-discovery, Carolina, dealing with the empty-nest syndrome and abandonment by a workaholic husband, rediscovers an inner life that was dormant in the U.S and develops a penchant for well-made margaritas.

The characters who accompany Carolina provide an interesting insight into Mexico and San Miguel. Guadalupe Victoria, a young, vivacious Mexican woman, is Carolina’s partner in crimes of revelry. It is no coincidence, for the characters and the students, that the majority of scenes take place in local bars and restaurants.

Doña Severina, Guadalupe’s mother, offers revealing insights into the complexities of the Mexican mother-daughter relationships. “Of all the characters I find Doña Severina the most interesting,” comments Warren. “She is the typical self-effacing Mexican mother-grandmother.” And, as Lilia explains with a laugh, Doña Severina is a personality that she and Fernando know very well.

The most appealing character, however, is bound to be Rolando, “El Gitano,” the stereotypical Latin Lover. Poetic and romantic, he’s a lady-killer with his charming manner.

Although presented in a work of fiction, the adventures of Carolina and her friends are the very adventures that many people experience—or hope to experience—in San Miguel. In an endearing view of this town—through the eyes of a foreigner but with the irreverent humor of the Mexican people—the book reveals the magic and mystery of the places and people.

The book, however, is much more than just soap opera. Warren, when translating the original Spanish version, became fascinated with certain issues and underlying concepts and so commissioned a section on historical background. “The topics were so interesting, entertaining and of tremendous cultural and historical value, the book needed more to be complete,” he comments. The section on historical background provides 25 chapters on Mexican customs, psychology and local history.

Important historical events and buildings are discussed and local festivals are explained. Even the words to the traditional song “Las Mañanitas” (The Little Mornings) are given, so students will be able to join in the singing at birthday celebrations and other festive occasions. A chapter on fireworks gives a totally different perspective to the noisy dawn interuptions.

The “Mexican man of 1,000 loves,” one of Warren’s favorite chapters, reveals the psychology behind the Latin macho and the consequences—the casa chica (the little house). It dispels the myth behind the stereotypical Mexican lover who, with velvet words, speaks the poetry of conquest.

While the soap offers great and entertaining reading, it is carefully formatted to provide solid vocabulary and grammar instruction. Multiple choice questions at the end of every chapter playfully test comprehension and the newly acquired vocabulary.

This engaging and entertaining course will be taught by Lilia Trápaga July 27 to August 13. For information call Warren or Tuli Hardy at 154-4017 mornings 152 4728 afternoons

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Destiny Fulfills Itself

By Eleanor Piazza


Have you ever looked back on your life and realized that if you had made a left turn instead of a right turn or missed a certain flight or never attended a certain event, your life would be very different today? Have you ever met someone and realized later that your whole life took a different course because of meeting that one person?

Such is the case in the life of Warren Hardy, of the Warren Hardy Spanish School, well known here in San Miguel de Allende, and his first Spanish-language student.

One day about 32 years ago in Flagstaff Arizona, precipitated by a significant birthday, Mickey Babbitt woke up one morning and announced to herself, “This is the day to realize my lifelong dream to learn to speak Spanish.”

Later, on that same day, Warren Hardy, barely old enough to legally order his first Margarita, was taking a painting class in Flagstaff. He glanced up from his canvas to see his art teacher speaking to a woman and pointing him out to her. After class, Mickey Babbitt came over to Warren and explained that she wanted to learn Spanish and had asked the teacher if any of her art students spoke that language. Warren had spent his formative years in Argentina, did speak fluent Spanish and, while he explained to her he had never attempted to teach Spanish to anyone before, he agreed to give it a try. He was a student at Northern Arizona University and could certainly use the extra money.

Mickey was impressed by Warren’s seemingly innate teaching ability and soon began to recommend him to her contacts in the area, who happened to be adults in the medical and legal professions. Before he knew what had happened to him, with Mickey’s encouragement and her contacts, Warren had a dedicated flock of students on his hands. By the time he graduated from NAU two years later, he had written his first Spanish language textbook and had put himself through school teaching three nights a week.

We could end the story here and say, “The rest is history,” but there is more. It all takes place here in San Miguel de Allende, with the most recent installment in August 2004.

After graduation, Warren moved to Tucson and began working for Xerox, still nurturing what had become his passion, teaching Spanish. By 1976 his school had grown so large that he quit the corporate life and dedicated himself to the flourishing language school that his “passionate hobby” had become.

“I’m just an ordinary guy who was lucky enough to find his calling early in life. It was my first student, Mickey Babbitt, who opened the door to teaching for me and introduced me to my bliss. When I was young, I had a talent for art, and I thought my creative livelihood was going to come in the form of painting. While in Tucson, I took a body of my work to a master artist to see if I had what it takes to make it as an artist. He assured me I was good enough to be a professional, but he told me, “If you don’t have a real passion for it, don’t do it.”

“What an epiphany that was! I knew right then that my real love was teaching, so I packed up my easel and devoted the rest of my life to teaching language.”

Coincidentally, some ten years after their first encounter, Mickey Babbitt moved to Tucson, too, and again took classes from Warren at his school there, Language First. “Oh, it was wonderful,” Mickey remembers. “It was set up like a theater, and we were the actors. There was a Mexican restaurant stage-setting for ordering, with menus, and an airport setting, even a large Mexican map on the table where groups of us would have our matchbox cars and travel from place to place. We were adults, mind you, but we got so involved in our journeys that we just had to learn to speak Spanish.”

Through the next 20 years, Mickey and Warren lost touch. “He seemed to have just dropped off the planet,” she lamented. Last year, Mickey was planning a journey to the colonial heartland of Mexico with four of her friends. The occasion—another milestone birthday. While Mickey had traveled in Mexico and even lived in northern Mexico for periods of time, she wanted to come to San Miguel de Allende as a gift to herself to celebrate her 70th birthday. Reading through the guidebooks, she was stunned to find herself reading about the Warren Hardy Language School in San Miguel.

So another dream comes true for Mickey, and another story comes full circle, as Mickey—now fluid in Spanish, but needing “to brush up on the subjunctive”—is once again a student of Warren Hardy and still enjoying every minute of it. As they hold hands, Warren chuckles, “Yes, 32 years later, and she has finally made it to Level 4!”

Not only was Warren in the right place at the right time to meet Mickey Babbitt, but all of us who have availed ourselves of his classes have her to thank in some serendipitous manner. Happy Birthday, Mickey, and thank you!

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Group Meets to Establish International Conflict Resolution Institute

August 6, 2004


By Dr. Alessandra Lippucci, Senior Lecturer in Government, University of Texas At Austin

Globalization—like it or not—is accelerating, and with it the incidence of international conflict. Disputes inevitably arise as increasing numbers of individuals, businesses and institutions attempt to operate across boundaries. Because litigation—the traditional means of resolving these international disputes—is costly, time-consuming and stressful, the parties have an incentive to turn to alternative dispute resolution (ADR), which tends to be cheaper, more efficient and less stressful.

To meet the growing need for ADR internationally, lawyers, judges and other professionals from the United States and Mexico met in San Miguel on July 23-25 at the Warren Hardy School to establish the International Institute for Responsible Conflict Resolution. The institute will develop new and more efficient methods and protocols for resolving international conflicts in the Western Hemisphere and will train its members to serve as international ADR consultants, consejeros intermediarios, and third-party neutrals in mediations, arbitrations and other conflict resolution processes developed by the institute.

The institute is the brainchild of Judge Frank Evans, founder of the Frank Evans Center for Conflict Resolution at the South Texas College of Law in Houston, Texas. In collaboration with Warren Hardy, Judge Evans organized this bi-national conference to lay the foundations of the institute. This was no traditional conference. Guest speakers and participants interactively brainstormed in meetings and coffee breaks to identify their institutional values and conceptual goals as well as the practical problems that the institute’s members will likely confront.

Following Judge Evans’ opening remarks, participants turned to a central theme of the conference: the importance of cultural sensitivity and its role in mediating disputes in the Western Hemisphere. To facilitate the resolution of a dispute between a Mexican and a Canadian company, for example, the mediator or consejero intermediario, must be an effective cultural translator—that is, he or she must be familiar with the legal rules of both countries as well as how to navigate among the cultural values that unite and divide all mediation participants.

Warren Hardy, long recognized as an expert cultural translator between Mexicans and North Americans, explained the etiquette and ethics that foreigners must master if they expect to relate effectively to business people and others in Mexico. According to Hardy, people on both sides of the border have developed similar values over the course of their respective histories—for example, those related to time, trust, honor and family—but they weigh them differently due to the vast differences in those histories. In Mexico, for example, social protocol, or cortesía, warms up the public space and creates the context of civility that is the precondition for effective communication in business or any other relationship. Hardy offered a host of tips on social protocol, such as how to request time, show respect and express thanks, and how to enter and leave a Mexican’s personal space. Hardy concluded by saying that both North Americans and Latin Americans agree that the biggest problems they face in doing international business are the need to find the right people to work with and the need to develop mutual trust

Christopher Finkelstein, who heads the city’s new office of international relations, then explained the current status of ADR in Mexico. According to Finkelstein, Mexicans are only just learning that mediation, conciliation and arbitration are far faster, cheaper and more civil ways of resolving disputes than going through the Mexican courts. He pointed out that the Guanajuato Center for Dispute Resolution handled 300 cases in its first year and had a one-third success rate. Currently mediation is not mandated by the courts, but such legislation is pending. Finkelstein said that Mexico still lacks adequate ADR institutions to handle disputes and has no equivalent of the American Arbitration Association. Currently the primary institution available for arbitration of business disputes is the Mexican Chamber of Commerce. There are NAFTA procedures for mediation, but Mexican small and medium businesses do not trust them. An additional problem is the fact that disputants who belong to two different legal systems (Mexicans rely on Roman law and those north of the border rely on common law) do not trust the other’s judicial system.

Lic. Santiago Gonzales Sanchez, the former assistant director of commercial and artisan development for the city, who is currently facilitating the export of local arts and crafts in the private sector, laid out the legal components of the FM2 and FM3 visas and the rules for creating a corporation in Mexico. He fielded dozens of questions in these and other areas. According to Gonzalez, the federal government and the Chamber of Commerce in Mexico are far better at protecting large rather than small businesses, so that the latter have a greater incentive to utilize ADR, or justicia alternativa.

Marleen Bergman, a consultant to major U.S. industries, further elaborated on the topic of cultural sensitivity by focusing on the cultural aspects of negotiation. She highlighted four universal distinctions that help explain the cultural differences that divide people who are trying to communicate across national boundaries. Some cultures value individualism more than collectivism; some deal very differently with uncertainty and distance; some allocate authority differently, depending on gender. From these distinctions Berman generated practical “dos” and “don’ts” to help individuals keep their cultural balance when operating on foreign terrain.

Dr. Janine Sagert, a consultant to Dell and other major U.S. companies, showed participants how to manage the stress they experience in difficult negotiating circumstances. According to Sagert, scientific research confirms that individuals who first undergo calming and centering exercises positively affect the physical and mental conditions of those around them. She advised mediators to use these techniques to reduce the level of conflict among disputants during the negotiating process.

The group plans to meet again next year.

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Mexican Immersion

Jon Tevlin, Star Tribune
October 16, 2005


Fourteen percent of all sentences in Spanish reflect doubt. Would have. Could have. Should have. An even higher percentage speaks of the past.

I learned that on the first day of my Spanish class in San Miguel de Allende. It was an affirming detail, an acknowledgment that too many of us live in the yesterday, the what-might-have-been.

A gap had opened in our ceaseless ant parade of life, (a house sale; an unfinished condo), so my wife, Ellen, and I decided to take a reprieve, something we’d wanted to do for years. We wanted to live in the present and future tenses for awhile, and we wanted to do it in Spanish.

So we got on Interstate Hwy. 35W and did what we’d always dreamed of doing: We kept going.

We arrived in San Miguel near dusk on New Year’s Eve to the sound of firecrackers and gunshots, the constant celebration of life and death that is Mexico.

From an overlook outside town, the Parroquia, a cathedral that looks like a sand castle church, loomed above the tiled roofs. Trucks clattered down cobblestone streets that descended like stitches into the center. Beyond, a lake and foothills rimmed the valley.

Our first question — whether we’d picked the right place — was already answered. It was gorgeous.

The second — how my rickety Spanish would hold up — was raised a few minutes later when the woman keeping the key for our rented apartment said that the American owner had not paid the bills; to avoid a cold, dark stay, I would need to summon the gas man and negotiate with the utility company. In Spanish.

Ay carumba, as they say.

Lesson 1: Keep talking
“If you feel your brain going down, just let it go down,” said Warren Hardy, the guru of Spanish language for older adults in San Miguel.

We were deep into hour three one day in class, and my mind was playing Twister on me. I studied Spanish in college, but 20 years in Minnesota had rusted my tongue. My biggest problem has always been word order since subjects and pronouns do not follow the same order in English and Spanish: Backward run the sentences until reels the mind.

My shaky grammar has cost me in my travels: I am forever paying the bill for Carlos when I’d much rather Carlos pay the bill for me. And instead of kissing Maria, I was always kissing Juan. Not that there’s anything wrong with that. But you see where it can lead.

So I went to school.

I was paired with another student, Dennis Pipes, a smart-aleck 62-year-old former insurance guy who made his money early, figured the angles and walked away from work at age 47 ( my age now). He settled into San Miguel where he paints, writes satires about retirees in Mexico and swaps lies down at Harry’s Bar.

My role model, I thought.

It made class fun. When our aging brains tired, Pipes and I amused ourselves by making the repetition exercises as silly as possible, combining our found vocabulary from the day:

“Did you bring the frisky monkeys for the president?”

“Yes, I brought them for him.”

We practised our favorite sayings taught by Hardy. For example, one Mexican expression for not liking someone is: “He falls fat on me.”

We delighted in the possibility of responsibility-dodging reflexives. No one loses something in Spanish, instead, “it lost itself.” One can distance oneself from imbibing by asserting that “drunkenness was put upon” them.

“This,” said Pipes, “will come in handy.”

“After this class, Spanish will no longer be a foreign language,” coached Hardy. “It will merely be a language you are learning.”

It was a good message for the humbling experience of speaking outside your comfort zone. Hardy’s method also made it easier for older adults. While younger minds are receptive to language immersion, he explained, minds of students over 45 first need to memorize through repetition and flash cards in a “safe environment” (there are no solo performances in class) before moving to immersion.

The drill, three hours a day, every other day with lots of homework, pushed my mind in new directions. It felt good, like a brisk workout. But it was also a taxing drain that frustrated me at times.

“Brain down! Brain down!” I’d yell.

My classmates occasionally fell fat on me. And the homework sometimes made me want to put drunkenness upon myself.

“You need to break out of this crucible of really defined, narrow language of ‘repita, por favor,’ ” Hardy counseled. “When you do, it’s transcendental.”

Then Hardy told of his own language journey, how he’d practice on the streets by cornering old men and children, who were less likely to flee, and asking them questions from class.

“What did you eat for breakfast?”

“Where did you go on vacation?”

Get into the streets, he said, and talk.

Lesson 2: Go exploring
At dusk the Jardin, or central garden plaza, filled with Mexican families and Americans. Women sold balloons and strawberries with cream. Mariachis strolled, and a caballero from the country gave horse rides.

Inevitably, off in the corner, someone from Warren Hardy’s class carrying a hand full of flash cards chased an old man down the sidewalk: “What did you have for breakfast?”Where did you go for vacation?”

Such is the incongruity of San Miguel, which is both alluringly comfortable for travelers and in danger of being a homogenized outpost for the Sansabelt crowd. Because of its beauty, climate and prevalence of both art and language schools, foreigners are moving here and pushing land values to Aspen-like heights. There are expensive boutiques, posh $500 a night hotel rooms and gourmet meals.

You can hear quality jazz at Tio Lucas, sip martinis at Harry’s, which looks as if it could be in Manhattan, or watch the entire NFL Sunday schedule at Casa Payo Argentinian Restaurant.

Yet, San Miguel has not lost its historic feel. Peanut salesmen in cowboy hats wander the streets calling “cacahuetes!” Donkeys teeter with kindling. And you can get a haircut at Pipila’s barber shop from a stooped barber with one bad eye for about $2.

One downside to learning Spanish in San Miguel is that you can live here and not really have to speak it.

But the rewards for moving beyond the classroom are immense and immediate. Many nights we dropped into some of the scores of neighborhood cantinas where Americans rarely go.

Places like Bar San Miguel, with its spaghetti western swinging doors, or El Gato Negro, where we sat one night and chatted in Spanish with a lonely bartender about how the town was changing.

“It’s gotten more and more expensive for me to live here,” he said. “But the Americans don’t come in here, so I’m not making more money.”

Mostly, we understood each other. And Mexicans always appreciated that at least we tried.

A few locals had warned us against going into some establishments, so of course we did. La Cucaracha was an after-hours bar with no sign. Some nights the door would open around midnight, signaling business.

Legend has it that Neal Cassidy, the real-life model for Jack Kerouac’s “On the Road,” had his last drink here before dying by the railroad tracks. One guidebook suggests Robert Mitchum fired a handgun in here. But it’s the land of magical realism, so I trust nothing.

We first wandered into La Cucaracha late one night. We were the only Americans. Within minutes, a young Mexican woman hugged my wife, kissed her on the cheek and said: “Welcome.”

We traded broken English and Spanish with a native artist, and found out more about the town in an hour than we had in weeks of talking with American expatriates.

Lesson 3: Relax
The area around San Miguel is historically important; the Cry of Independence in the rebellion against the Spanish happened in nearby Dolores Hidalgo in 1810. It was in San Miguel that General Ignacio Allende led the army to several victories before being caught and beheaded by the Spanish. San Miguel was also an important stop on the silver route.

So this region is a great place for day trips, opportunities to flex the language muscle and learn the culture.

We saw the bustling historical city of Queretero, with picturesque aqueduct, plazas and cathedrals and the stunningly beautiful Guanajuato, where splendid colonial architecture cuddles into sheer mountain cliffs above a maze of underground roads.

In Zacatecas, where the country’s oldest bull ring is now a posh hotel, we spent two hours speaking Spanish with a young couple who tried to coax us to come over for a home-cooked meal.

At least once a week, we’d go to one of the hot springs near San Miguel, languid gardens with thermal pools and steam-filled caves where Americans and Mexicans escaped the hum of the town. We’d lie under a tree and look out at the rolling desert plains and undulating foothills. Always it was a Spanish word that came to me: Tranquilidad. Tranquility.

It was here that I realized I was learning more than the language. The transformation Warren Hardy promised had begun, but not just because of the classes. We were being transformed, day by day, by the lazy allure of the place and the generous people, by the sense of family we saw every evening in the plazas and by the possibilities offered not only by a new language, but a new way of life.

jtevlin@startribune.com • 612-673-1702

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The University of Texas at Brownsville and Texas Southmost College teams with Warren Hardy Spanish to offer Spanish classes to adult learners

In response to the needs of the Brownsville community, where the ability to speak Spanish is an essential skill, UTB/TSC selected the Warren Hardy learning system for its adult education classrooms based on its effectiveness with adult learners and emphasis on Mexican Spanish.

San Miguel de Allende, GTO, Mexico (PRWEB) June 12, 2008 – The University of Texas at Brownsville and Texas Southmost College (UTB/TSC) will begin teaching the Warren Hardy Spanish Level 1 course in Brownsville, Texas on June 14, 2008. In response to the needs of the Brownsville community, where the ability to speak Spanish is an essential skill, UTB/TSC selected the Warren Hardy learning system for its adult education classrooms based on its effectiveness with adult learners and emphasis on Mexican Spanish.

“Our community has been requesting a Spanish course to help them communicate with employees, customers, friends and neighbors. We learned about Warren Hardy Spanish four years ago and have traveled to San Miguel de Allende several times to observe classes,” says Dr. Tony Zavaleta, Vice President for External Affairs. “We were very impressed with Warren Hardy’s method and how quickly and confidently students begin functioning in Spanish. This year we hired and sent a dedicated teacher to San Miguel for Warren Hardy Spanish teacher certification. We are happy to be offering our first classes and already community feedback has been extremely positive.”

The Warren Hardy Spanish learning system was developed and perfected over a thirty-year period by founder and creator Warren Hardy. His school in San Miguel de Allende, Mexico has used this system to successfully teach thousands of students since 1990. This innovative learning system effectively and easily helps adults learn Spanish by integrating workbooks, flash cards, pronunciation practice, and games while working with a partner. Teacher training and certification is available for those interested in the Warren Hardy Spanish Method.

Warren Hardy explains, “We are very excited about the opportunity to be part of the UTB/TSC Language Institute. This relationship with The University of Texas at Brownsville andTexas Southmost College represents our first partnership with a Higher Education learning institution. In the past our students had to travel to our school in Mexico. Now through our teacher certification program we are able to train teachers and take Warren Hardy Spanish into local communities like Brownsville, which is a sister city to San Miguel de Allende. What a fortuitous way to start. This furthers our mission of uniting people through language learning and cultural understanding.”

For additional information about the Warren Hardy Spanish School, teacher certification programs or to purchase products, visit www.warrenhardy.com. To learn more about the UTB/TSC’s Continuing Education Spanish curriculum or to enroll for Continuing Education Spanish classes through UTB/TSC, visit their website at www.utb.edu.

About Warren Hardy Spanish
The Warren Hardy Spanish learning program is successfully used by thousands of independent adult learners as well as public, private, and entrepreneurial teachers. The publishing group produces and sells 25 titles through its online bookstore at www.warrenhardy.com. The Warren Hardy Spanish School in San Miguel de Allende, Mexico since 1990 offers a four-level curriculum where students learn the basics of Spanish grammar and develop conversational skills. There are presently 26 Warren Hardy Spanish certified teachers. Warren Hardy Spanish is taught at the University of Texas at Brownsville and Texas Southmost College.

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